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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Has Derren lost it? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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noncom
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Is anyone else finding the new Mind Control series as disappointing as I am? Each of the four editions screened thus far seems to have become progressively weaker, and less connected with the mentalism presentation we've come to love from Derren.

By far the best bits of pure mentalism have come directly from the 3 MC specials previously shown (with the exception perhaps of the Oxford University sequence and the Animal Heaven routine). Apart from those, too much of the rest seems to be Derren telling us how clever he is: including exposes of muscle reading (a "Victorian parlour trick", Derren says as he pretty much gives the whole game away), a detailed description of how to track dealt cards from 4 decks, and this week the most bizarre yet: about a third of the show devoted to pickpocketing (which Derren justified as using "visual misdirection" of a similar kind to his mental work).

Don't get me wrong - Derren's approach and publicity has been fantastic in raising the profile of mentalism (and I still hope to catch the live tour) but he does seem to be running out of ideas for the TV series very quickly.

Any thoughts?

Andy
It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it - Bananarama.
shrink
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I don't think there are too many ideas in mentalism. You read someone's mind, then you read someone's mind. It doesn't matter how many different ways you represent it, at the end of the day it's the same effect.

I don't think Derren will be around on TV a year from now. Already his "new" shows are supplemented with his old ones. And what was fresh is already looking jaded because of repetition.

Mentalism holds up best with short bursts occasionally. It quickly loses its appeal when on TV for a prolonged period of time.

I really enjoyed his series first time around now it's quickly becoming a non-event.
Andrewdavidson12
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My thoughts are...that I completely disagree! I was disappointed when I heard that the content of his "new" series would pull about 50% of its content from the 3 previous MC specials. I can just about accept the justification that this a way to change the format of the shows whilst including the strongest stuff from the specials.

I don't think he's lost it at all and I don't think he's about to disappear from our screens, as Shrink suggests. Talk to laymen about him and they think he's awesome (from my experience). I can't have a conversation with someone about magic without them mentioning him and asking me about him.

There is a lot of life left in DB and the team in my opinion. Long may their creativity continue.

A
Cornelius
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Derren Brown has not lost it. But I dislike his attitude towards exposing the secrets of mentalism.
Dr Omni
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The main reason that the current series contains extracts from previous broadcasts as well as new material is that Channel 4 made little effort to really promote the original "Mind Control" series to the mass TV audience, so only a relatively small proportion of the total UK TV audience saw it. This time they have pulled out all the stops in publicity, with many trailers and press interviews and articles, so that a far larger number of viewers are watching. Of course, to those who have seen every single of one of DB's broadcasts every time they've been aired (on both terrestrial and cable TV) it can get a bit repetitive. But there are two new "Mind Control" specials due in the autumn, including the much-publicised live Russian roulette sequence, in which he intends to shoot himself or not dependent on whether the person says that the next chamber in the revolver is loaded or empty. Let's just hope Derren survives that; otherwise there will be no end of people expressing regret over the loss of such a great talent at such an early age (32).
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shrink
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I may be wrong and laymen probably do think he's awesome but I believe a year from now they will be indifferent.

Whatever happened to the Secret Cabaret? That was a great series with Simon Drake. I fear Derren will go the same route.

Doesn't matter how good a show is, it has a shelf life. Mind Control is no different. It's flavour of the month just now, but that will change.

I see it already from the laymen who saw it the first time around. They don't even bother watching this "new" series.
Lee Davies
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Three years on TV (high viewing figures), strong selling books, videos, interviews on prime tv slots/magazines/newspapers, sold out tour; not bad for a flavour of the month. I wish I could emulate that.

I believe that this series is reinforcing his psychological persona, as he has tv specials later on this year.

Check out his web site as to an explanation on why the new series contains a few elements from the previous series.

Regards

Smile
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand...
chrismatt
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When is Derren coming to American TV?
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
shrink
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Three years on tv, great, but he hasn't been on all the time. Flavour of the month, flavour of the year, whatever, it will have a shelf life. I admire what Derren has done. He is a brilliant performer. I wish I could carry off what he does too. He is really talented, as is his team.

I don't think these repeats masked as new shows are doing him any favours though. He would be better to do a completely new show every now and again, but it looks as though they are milking it while his popularity lasts

I hear this from laymen. Who knows, perhaps he will last for 10 years or more, but in the end his "reign" will come to an end. I just happen to believe it will come much sooner.

As good as his shows are, they quickly lose their gloss after seeing them once. They don't hold up to being watched repeatedly. Dare I say it they become a bit boring.

And making viewers sit through the old stuff to get glimpses of the new stuff is taking away some of the impact of the new.
Or milking the material as much as the TV company can. Familiarity breeds contempt.

When ever I mention him to some laymen friends who watched the first series and never missed a show, they still say how great he is. But they don't watch his "new" series.

And I agree, there are a lot of people who are still discovering him for the first time, but eventually they will remember how great he is without watching further series.

It's just a hunch. I may be wrong. I still watch the odd repeat but I know for me personally much of the impact has gone.

Over-exposure of stage hypnosis by McKenna on TV had the same effect in the early 90s and was one of the main reasons stage hypno died in this country, because it was no longer special. The gloss had gone. Plus it inspired dozens and dozens of performers that flooded the market.
Dr Omni
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It must be borne in mind that the whole "Mind Control" phenomenon is the work of a highly experienced team of magicians and TV producers, not just one person's ideas. In fact, it was Andy Nyman who was originally lined up to be the big star of "MC", but he turned it down to take the lead role in the feature film "Dead Babies", which, by all acounts, was dismal, seen by almost nobody and disappeared from cinema screens after a couple of weeks (although Andy Nyman got good write-ups of his acting performance).

I think that as long as the team (including DB) keep coming up with good ideas, filmed in interesting locations with groups of people relevant to the effect being displayed, "Mind Control" has every reason to be just as much a British TV institution as Tommy Cooper, David Berglas, David Nixon and Paul Daniels have been in years past.
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noncom
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OK, there's a fair amount of disagreement as I might have expected. But can anyone seriously defend the use of nearly 10 minutes worth of Derren pickpocketing people in a show supposedly devoted to mental powers? I just felt the link with "physical misdirection" was way too tenuous and detracted from his carefully acquired persona of the well-studied expert in body language and suggestion etc, making him appear more like a cabaret artist than ever.

Great shame in my opinion.

Andy
It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it - Bananarama.
teejay
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His Channel 4 original shows were repeated on
Sky last year. Again without mentioning that they were 'repeats'.
There were over 4 hours of them shown then. I think the 'new' stuff they are showing now was in them. The pick pocket scene was.
I could check my videotape but I couldn't watch them again for a fourth time.
All the pre-publicity for the three runs said that they were 'new'. Newspapers, TV mags and the web, even the 'Magic Week' reviewer didn't mention that they were on their third outing. I waited for months to see these shows. Smile
AND lay people who see 'new show' in the TV guide and experience a feeling of deja vu will think all mentalist shows are prety much the same ie you've seen one, you've seen them all.
Weren't some Christmas specials shown that were repeats? I've lost count. Smile
mentalism101
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Yeah yeah, poor Derren.

The TV company liked his specials SO little they decided they deserved a wider audience, filmed some new material, re-edited the whole thing and broadcast it with much publicity as a whole series.

It's obviously not working, though, since they've only guaranteed him a further TWO new specials this year!

That and a ground-breaking theatre show, where again he has foolishly broken with magic tradition in that he's used a director to guide the show instead of doing it all himself.

And another mistake - using his own artwork in effects on his TV show and discussing it in interviews. Now people are going to want to buy his paintings as well. The fool.

What he needs is more advice from people on magic boards rather than all these professional TV and theatre types he appears to be consulting.

Oh well. Maybe he'll learn...
dale_kingstons_world_of_art
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Has Derren lost it? I would say that while his career seems to be forever on the ascendant, he now comes across as complacent and working away from his initial goal of being seen as a mind-control master. He comes across sometimes now as a comedy magician.

The pickpocketing and crooked gambling sequences were both entertaining pieces but before he started doing that kind of thing the public were 100% convinced that everything he was doing was pyschology and science based. It now looks like he is doing a magic show - albeit quite a different one. The TV listings guides refer to him as a magician now which is interesting as when the first specials were shown it was made clear that he was an ex-magician. Perhaps the tenuous links come from a lack of original material.

The public are getting wise to his pre-show techniques now. See this for an example (it is written by someone who is just a fan of Derren and not a magician/mentalist):

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/derrenbrown/message/3624

There will be more of this, guaranteed. For example, the opening trick of the show is based on a three-way out so any of his fans seeing the performance more than once (which they will be doing) are going to cotton on to the difference in effect. When I saw his live show the bar was buzzing afterwards with those who had helped on stage talking about just how different their perception of events had been to that of the audience. ("Buzzing" being an appropriate choice of words when it comes to tricks like "Lift"...) The reason that I think Derren has become complacent is because I think he really doesn't care about these things coming to light. As his public profile increases his show needs to be more solid and less like it is.
sokarnl
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Quote:
On 2003-03-23 12:34, shrink wrote:
I don't think there are too many ideas in mentalism. You read someone's mind, then you read someone's mind. It doesn't matter how many different ways you represent it, at the end of the day it's the same effect.


The same goes for illusions: you do a levitation, you do a vanish, you do an appearance and you do a transformation (which is a vanish and an appearance combined together)and yet there have been shows which are full of this.

So I disagree that there is a lack of material.
shrink
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Yes, and it all becomes very boring very quickly after a few times. I agree with a previous post that Derren is being inconsistant with his original premise of being a mind manipulator. He's going for it to make as much money as he can before he fades from the public eye. But part of the reason he is moving back to being a more of a magician is he knows that repeating mind reading feats in different forms won't work. They will lose their impact just like his "new" repeats have already.
Svengali
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Just adding my 2 cents here.
How come people can hear the same song or watch the same movie over and over again and again but when it comes to magicians it is always 'give us something new!!'?
Chan Canasta used to do the same stuff all the time but people never get bored.
Why?
Because it felt like real magic.
And real magic is something people can never get enough.
Think about it.

S
shrink
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People? Which people? Very few films I will watch more than twice. Magic Mentalism is partly successful because of the suprise. After a short while the suprise and wonder becomes stale.
Svengali
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But if the process becomes more important than the outcome, people will be able to watch the same effect again and again and again.
Think about Chan Canasta.

S
mystic1
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Quote:
On 2003-03-23 13:40, Cornelius wrote:
Derren Brown has not lost it. But I dislike his attitude towards exposing the secrets of mentalism.


Has Brown started exposing?

If so, he should get what should be the standard treatment of exposers by other performers: Don't buy an exposer's books or tapes. Don't give him publicity. Don't talk about him with your lay-friends. And communicate with tv networks and program sponsors that you're through watching their network or buying their products because they were accessories to exposure.

That's what I do anyway.

Don't know if this applies to Derren's situation or not.
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